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Aren't snowshoes all wrong?
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ziff house
(mrultralite) - F
Aren't snowshoes all wrong? on 01/07/2011 11:14:18 MST Print View

The heel should be able to rotate downwards instead of resting on the rear deck. Snowshoes are dangerous facing downhill as the foot is tipped forward. a fully rotating foot fore and aft would allow the shoe to 'float' at any angle.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Aren't snowshoes all wrong? on 01/07/2011 12:08:17 MST Print View

You are the second person I've heard suggest this. In my experience, though, it doesn't matter much. The snow is usually soft enough to simply lurch the snowshoe platform into the snow at a slight angle into the hill. Or, if you are shuffling quickly down the hill, lean the platform forward more. It is possible to get carried away and fall forward, but I haven't had it happen.

The big advantage of the pivoting section is on flat ground. When you lean forward, your foot goes into the snow before you have to pick it up. While going uphill, it is simply a bonus. You can take advantage of the pivot by placing the platform parallel to the slope and pivoting, so your foot is level. Doing that, however, places a lot of faith on the bars and spikes of the snowshoes. If you are using snowshoes without much in the way of bars and spikes, then you will slip backwards. On the other hand, if you take the approach I suggested for going downhill, and apply it for going uphill, then you will be more stable. In other words, slam the platform down (or into) the hill so that it is level.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
shoes on 01/07/2011 12:58:05 MST Print View

if its that steep you should descent facing inwards with the ice axe (which you should have for steep hills) ready to self-belay/arrest

or take them off

or ski down on the shoes if its fluffy enough

Edited by bearbreeder on 01/07/2011 12:58:52 MST.

ziff house
(mrultralite) - F
* on 01/07/2011 13:35:53 MST Print View

guess it depends on the snow conditions, hard or soft deep or not. There was one group that issued a bulletin this year warning about snowshoes on slopes, called 'How not to kill yourself snowshoeing' but people use them on slopes in any case.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Aren't snowshoes all wrong? on 01/07/2011 14:36:43 MST Print View

You should not be trying to use snowshoes in Tuckerman Ravine.


Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
"Aren't snowshoes all wrong?" on 01/07/2011 23:04:50 MST Print View

One advantage of conventional design is that your boot heel pushes the crampons down to grip on climbs. Spikes outside the bootprint don't get pushed down to grip so well on snowhshoes with a flexible deck.

More snowshoes are coming out with rigid or less flexible decks, but they transmit every little (or big) irregularity to your foot. But if you preferred them, and the spikes outside the footprint were adequate, then it might make sense to have a strong spring under the instep that would allow the snowshoe to pivot either way, and return it to level with your boot sole when the pressure is off.

I am much more comfortable with the flexible decks. You can see and step around all kinds of stuff when there is no snow, but it can hit you hard when it is covered by the snow and you can't see it. I have some old rigid plastic Grivel snowshoes with spikes outside the footprint, but they tore my legs up, and the beating was enough to also tear up the bindings. Had them repaired by Grivel once, but don't use them because of the discomfort unless I expect to do long sections of 'bulletproof' ice.

So IMO, Darwin's subtheory of survival of the fittest snowshoes has worked.